It’s a question we’ve been asking ourselves since the Government’s announcement on Monday. Of course, getting the economy going again is vital, however throughout this lockdown we’ve been told that being fit and healthy will reduce the risk of becoming severely ill with the virus. So why when easing the lockdown would the government allow all those establishments that contribute to obesity and heart disease amongst others, open before gyms?
Richard Tidmarsh owner and head trainer of Reach Fitness London talks about this in an article in Men’s Health:
As a gym owner, of course, I am pretty angry. But not for the reasons you would expect. Unlocking the economy needed to be done in a logical and rational way, and now with pretty much every type of business allowed to open (as of July 4th), the debacle continues.
The bottom line is this: business owners in all sectors, should have been given the responsibility to keep its individual customers safe. But many business owners have different ways of measuring safety.
During lockdown, I have been into some supermarkets that have paid no attention to being “COVID-secure”. Yes, there is a queue outside but once you are in, it’s a complete free for all of passing the virus. Meanwhile in shops like Whole Foods, it feels like you are entering a nuclear testing plant, with masks provided and detailed one way systems. Will I go back to Whole Foods? Yes. Will I go back to my local M&S? No.
The majority of smaller gyms, independently owned, operate on a business model that is perfect to create a secure environment. At Reach Fitness Gym, we operate what is, in effect, a private members club for fitness.
Like many other gyms, we can cater for smaller groups and personal training, control capacity and design the space to ensure social distancing is adhered to. We can even operate a track and trace system if there was a confirmed case from one of our members. We are also able to close communal areas, operate a no kit sharing policy, clean equipment after each use and space the timetable to provide windows of time to keep people safe in small groups.
Does this sound safer than battling to get your eggs and milk down the local Sainsbury’s Express? Does this sound safer than wrestling to get into Nike Town to grab a bargain? Does this sound safer than a pint surrounded by others who no doubt will forget about social distancing once the booze starts to kick in?
Yes, it does.
It’s time for the UK’s population to get behind this message & get all local businesses open in your communities.